While no one is suggesting that the sick and terminally ill conduct pilgrimages to his next concert, doctors are still studying the recent recovery of a German woman who emerged from a coma after hearing the Canadian rocker belt out his hits, in hopes of better understanding the therapeutic relationship between music and the ailing.

“Music has been a traditional folk remedy ever since the 1950s when a Fort Lauderdale woman’s goiter miraculously shrunk during an Elvis Presley concert,” says Doctor Mai Eyes, noted researcher and the author of On The Road To Yanniville, considered by even those who can’t read to be the definitive history of using music to treat illnesses. “Since then we’ve had documented cases of James Taylor giving relief to hypertension sufferers as well as Red Hot Chili Peppers curing athlete’s foot and Heart songs soothing even the most advanced cases of halitosis and diaper rash.”

But all is not “well” in the world of medicine when it comes to using music, such as the latest hits by Ben Harper or Norah Jones to treat various maladies including shingles, acne and faux conservatism. Many doctors still put their faith in traditional methods, such as radiation therapy, surgery and cranial amputations, and are skeptical when it comes to prescribing a CD by Jackson Browne or a compilation featuring Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band for their patients.

“Sure, there’s been isolated instances where a supposed ‘miracle’ cure based on the flip side of a Sum 41 single has benefited a patient suffering from constipation or rampant flatulence,” says Dr. Jimm Ee, of the Food, Drug and Concert Administration. “But after years of testing, I’ll still put my trust in a radical lobotomy versus prescribing a day at Ozzfest for even the most extreme incurable. Although, I will have to admit, the end result is often the same.”

Even more controversial is the theory that illicitly copied and distributed MP3 files of songs by major artists such as Eagles or Celine Dion can have a therapeutic effect when more traditional cures fail. While voters in several states have passed propositions legalizing MP3 cultivation for treatment of various illnesses, Attorney General John Ashcroft has insisted that federal copyright laws supercede state laws, no matter how well intentioned.

“Sure, they say it’s for the ‘sick,’ but it’s really the first step towards MP3 legalization supported by so-called doctors and allegedly dying people, who in reality are nothing but crooks, criminals, deviates and psychopaths,” said the nation’s top cop. “Mark my words. First it’s MP3 files. Then it’s naked statues followed by the collapse of civilization as we know it. Do you really want that to happen?”

Does music really heal the sick? Can songs by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers or Yeah Yeah Yeahs help eliminate chicken pox, measles and brain warts? Or is treating patients with the latest anthology by Neil Young or Rick Springfield merely a placebo that has no place in today’s world of modern medicine? While the medical community remains conflicted as to the health benefits of CDs by The Donnas, Queens Of The Stone Age and Anthrax, several doctors continue to insist that they are making progress in the fledgling field of musical therapy.

“When I was fresh out of medical school, I was more likely to prescribe a heavy regimen of aspirin combined with sphincter traction and intravenous laxatives for most of my patients,” says Dr. Eyes. “Now I’m more likely to tell them to ‘buy two Bryan Adams tickets and call me in the morning.'”